Dusted Off: Mr. Monk is a Mess by Lee Goldberg

Mr. Monk is a MessMr. Monk is a Mess by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, Goldberg delivers a definitive response to anyone who disparages tie-in novels. The TV series, Monk, was great — but what Goldberg’s done with this series of novels — particularly following the series finale.

What he’s done with these characters — Disher, Ambrose and especially Natalie (oh, yeah, and that OCD detective) is incredible. Almost got a little misty a couple of times here.

In addition to this great character development, we got a handful of great comic scenes, a couple of solid mysteries, and one of the most action-packed scenes in the Monk canon.

While I understand his need to move on with his career, really not liking the idea that there’s only one more in this series from Goldberg. But I’m really looking forward to his swan song now.

Dusted Off: Mr. Monk on the Couch by Lee Goldberg

Mr. Monk on the CouchMr. Monk on the Couch by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not at all surprisingly, Goldberg delivered yet again. It seems the man can’t write a bad book–which is fine with me.

This book is more about Natalie than usual, about her growth as an investigator–spurred by her work with Monk. As such, it’s probably one of the more emotionally satisfying of this long series. We also get some good development of the new lieutenant brought in by Goldberg to replace Lt. Disher following the TV series’ finale.

I can’t think of much to say about this that doesn’t fall into spoiler territory (or is a rehash of the backcover copy). Funny, good whodunit, and some nice character moments. All you can ask for.

Pros and Cons: A Short Story by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

I spent the better part of an hour writing a different review this morning — it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but I’d worked on it a lot. And then I lost it. One stupid, wrong and mostly stupid click of the mouse and …poof. Didn’t have time to try to recreate it, but wanted to post something new today. And hey, I just purchased the Evanovich/Goldberg short story, Pros and Cons. Perfect! That’d fit the bill. Right? well…

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Pros and Cons: A Short Story (O'Hare and Fox, #0.5)Pros and Cons: A Short Story by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Series: Fox and O’Hare, #0.5

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Heist since it was first announced — I’m a big fan of both Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, so when this short story prequel was released I couldn’t resist.

I probably should have found the will power. This, at best, was not bad. Amusing at times, but most of the humor felt forced. Even then, the humor was overly broad most of the time. Worse than that, the story was chock-full of exposition dumps that are almost worthy of Dan Brown.

That said, I’ve read almost 30 books by these two over the years and have no doubt that the novels are going to be better. The primary characters — Agent O’Hare and scoundrel Fox, are promising and chock-full of potential. Sure, I’m a little less enthused about The Heist than I was yesterday, but I’ll get over that once it’s in my hot little hands.

Short version: Skip this tease, come back for the real thing.

Dusted Off: Mr. Monk in Outer Space

If I had more energy, I’d go through the archives and see how many of Lee Goldberg’s Monk novels I’ve talked about, but I’m pretty sure my take on all of them is pretty much the same: theyyyyy’re grrreaaat! The latest, just released in paperback (making it cheap enough for Frodo to give it to me for Father’s Day) is no exception.

Essentially, the novel centers on the death of the creator of a Star Trek-like show at a con. Monk has a hard time understading the obsessive nature of the fans and is convinced these adults walking around in costumes are tripping on acid. Hilarity ensues. Goldberg is able to spoof fandom, TV reimaginings, not to mention TV in general. He doesn’t do so meanly, there’s respect, affection, and understanding. Which is a pleasant change–normally fanboys are painted with the broadest brush in these circumstances and played for only cheap laughs, Goldberg resists this impulse (generally), which results in better jokes.

Outer Space‘s mystery holds up a little better than it’s fore-runners, but as with the show, the mystery is secondary to watching Monk navigate through society–particularly one as strange as SciFi fandom. I laughed out loud a lot at this one–but it was more than just a comedic romp. There were some good, more serious, moments that really get ya in the cockles—-as they do in the TV episodes featuring Ambrose (oh, did I forget to mention that Ambrose makes his first appearance in the books? Silly me). They, along with Monk’s final appraisal of fandom, really elevate the book.

Another solid outing for Goldberg–his best yet, actually. Can’t wait for the next installment.